Le Ly Hayslip


Born
in Ky La, Viet Nam
December 19, 1949


Le Ly Hayslip is a Vietnamese-American memoirist and humanitarian. She was born in Ky La, now Xa Hao Qui, a small town in central Vietnam just south of Da Nang. She was the sixth and youngest child born to farmers. American helicopters landed in her village when she was 12 years old. At the age of 14, she endured torture in a South Vietnamese government prison for "revolutionary sympathies". She fled to Saigon, where she and her mother worked as housekeepers for a wealthy Vietnamese family. She worked for a short period of time as a nurse assistant in a Da Nang hospital.

Her first book, When Heaven and Earth Changed Places: A Vietnamese Woman's Journey from War to Peace (Doubleday, 1989), tells the story of her somewhat peaceful
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“For you see, the face of destiny or luck or god that gives us war also gives us other kinds of pain: the loss of health and youth; the loss of loved ones or of love; the fear that we will end our days alone. Some people suffer in peace the way others suffer in war. The special gift of that suffering, I have learned, is how to be strong while we are weak, how to be brave when we are afraid, how to be wise in the midst of confusion, and how to let go of that which we can no longer hold. In this way, anger can teach us forgiveness, hate can teach us love, and war can teach us peace.”
Le Ly Hayslip, When Heaven and Earth Changed Places: A Vietnamese Woman's Journey from War to Peace
tags: peace

“The past, for everyone, is full of missed chances, surviving to understand them, if not set them straight, is one of the things that makes the next breath worth taking.”
Le Ly Hayslip , When Heaven and Earth Changed Places: A Vietnamese Woman's Journey from War to Peace

“In the West, for example, people believe they must 'pursue happiness' as if it were some kind of a flighty bird that is always out of reach. In the East, we believe we are born with happiness and one of life's important tasks, my mother told me, is to protect it.”
Le Ly Hayslip, When Heaven and Earth Changed Places: A Vietnamese Woman's Journey from War to Peace

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